by Cliff Rold
In what was probably the toughest call of the weekend’s three rough scoring affairs, Jr. Welterweight Mike Dallas lost to Mauricio Herrera, aired on Friday Night Fights in the U.S. Ruminating on a fight he, and the crowd, felt he won, Dallas spoke to how bad decision make boxing not be fun.
On Saturday, Middleweight Matthew Macklin and Jr. Welterweight Lucas Matthysse could share the sentiment.
We begin with Matthysse who dropped a split decision to former unified 140 lb. titlist Devon Alexander.
Let’s go to the report card.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Alexander A; Matthysse B/Post: A; B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Alexander B; Matthysse B+/Post: Same
Pre-Fight: Defense – Alexander B; Matthysse C+/Post: B-; B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Alexander B; Matthysse B+/Post: Same
Off the top, it must be made clear: this scribe was not able to watch the first few rounds close enough to make an honest assessment of the overall scoring of Saturday’s HBO main event, splitting time between it and the Fernando Montiel-Nehomar Cermeno fight via the miracle of P.I.P.
That said, of the six full rounds completely focused on, Matthysse appeared to win at least four, that after a scoring a knockdown in the fourth. The only round Alexander clearly won in that spread was the ninth. There were some close frames. Giving benefit of the doubt to Alexander, a very narrow score for the St. Louis native is conceivable.
One judge gave Alexander, at a score of 96-93, seven rounds minus a point for the knockdown.
That, just doing the math, is not conceivable.
Matthysse deserved better than that scorecard. Both men showed a lot in the fight. Alexander displayed resilience, digging deep late to make a statement even as Matthysse dug back deeper to close strong in then tenth.
Alexander’s problems with consistent punching accuracy are becoming endemic. He struggled to land against Andriy Kotelnik, Timothy Bradley and now here…and Matthysse ain’t hard to find. When he engaged in the ninth, Alexander showed how effective he can be offensively. Too much of the time, he’s playing cute and staying too far away. Matthysse, conversely, landed stiff, hard shots. He’s deceptively accurate and quicker than he looks.
It was worse earlier in the day.
Like the Alexander fight, if one wanted to, sure, maybe there are enough rounds close to call Felix Sturm’s WBA title defense against Matthew Macklin a draw. However, in that split decision, two judges gave Sturm eight rounds.
He didn’t win eight rounds. Period. Macklin might have (and this scorecard said he did). There were some swing rounds.
Not enough for Sturm to win by twin margins of 116-112.
A strong case could be made Sturm lost the first four and he surely didn’t sweep the remainder. Macklin showed ass in a big way and left with less than he should have to show for it. Sturm gave a fine effort himself, countering sharply and recovering from a savage body assault in the first half. In the eleventh, Macklin willed a wining frame and busted a cut into the titlist’s face. Sturm rocking Macklin at the end of the final round was a great set-up for a return bout.
Sturm honorably offered just that after the fight. He should have entered looking to regain his strap. Let’s hope to see it again anyways.
It’s okay to see a score go closer than one expected.
It’s another to see it go wildly away from reality.
Eight rounds for Sturm? Seven for Alexander? Garbage like that makes boxing not fun. As we head towards a major, globally watched Heavyweight championship fight this weekend, everyone should have their fingers crossed that not only do we get a good fight but that the officials find a way to go unnoticed.
Report Card Picks 2011: 21-6
Cliff’s Notes…Astute readers of the Alexander-Matthysse pre-fight report card may note all five fights picked there came through on the winner’s bracket. So why did an extra notch go in the loss column for the year to date? A reader asked why no pick had been made on the IBF Jr. Middleweight title tilt between Cornelius Bundrage and Sechew Powell. This scribe offered a Powell pick.
Middleweight: To these eyes, Sturm lost but no one below him has enough of a claim to rise to bump past him, though Daniel Geale could get there with another quality win or two. Sturm stays at 1. Macklin enters strong at #5.
Jr. Middleweight: Bundrage moves up a slot.
Jr. Welterweight: Unlike Middleweight, this class is stacked. Alexander drops from his previous #3 position even in victory. He is to be commended for fighting top-flight guys regularly, but he’s either hit a ceiling or going through some tough growing pains.
Jr. Featherweight: One fight after losing a pair of Bantamweight belts, Fernando Montiel had a short, successful night against usually tough Nehomar Cermeno. Cermeno bowed out, early and oddly, but Montiel looked good through the two completed rounds. Montiel enters the top ten.
These results and more are reflected a page away.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]